Male Area Athlete of the Week: Ervasti ‘a natural sprinter’ for BHV
Verndale junior earns area athlete of the week
There haven’t been many faster than Malachi Ervasti this year.
The Verndale junior won three events for the Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale Raiders last week at Sebeka.
He won the 100-meter dash in 11.60 and the 200 dash in 24.41. He also helped anchor the Raiders’ 4x100 relay, which won in 46.27.
“I was mostly just thinking about what I’ve been doing to get out of the blocks and just trying to have a good block start,” Ervasti said. “I really focus on being mentally ready and on the first three steps of coming out of the blocks.”
Ervasti added the emphasis on how he gets off the blocks has played a major role in his early season success.
“It plays a major role in winning each race,” he said.
Ervasti started his junior season running great in the indoor meets. He won the 60 dash in 7.27 March 28 in the Lions Invite at Bemidji State University to start his season. He improved his time two weeks later on April 11 when he won the 60 dash at the Little Amik meet in 7.22.
BHV boys’ head coach Jeff Moore said Ervasti’s start to the season proved he had improved a lot from last year.
“He ran the school record in the 60,” Moore said. “He’s just really improved from last year. We knew he had potential, but he’s really worked at it and sees himself now as someone who can really accomplish something. When he was at Bemidji running those 60s he stuck with it and beat some state kids and when Malachi saw that he knew he could compete and he started to work harder.”
Ervasti added: “It was a very good indicator. I was thinking if I could do well in these events I could do a lot better this year as opposed to last year.”
He transferred his success to the outdoor meets flawlessly as he won the 100 dash at Perham Invite April 25 in 11.34, which holds as his best time of the season. He also won the 200 dash at Perham in 24.54.
“He’s been so good coming out of the blocks,” Moore said. “He’s been quick and is just a natural sprinter that has that natural quick-twitch that sprinters need to have.”
He ran his best time in the 200 dash May 9 at the Section 6-1A True Team meet. He placed sixth with a time of 24.16. The 4x100 relay team placed second at the true team meet with a season-best time of 45.81.
“Being the anchor of the relay team is kind of empowering, but it’s also nerve-wrecking, too, because everyone is relying on you to perform to make sure we win,” Ervasti said. “I like the pressure because it makes me do better. Even though track is more of an individual sport it’s nice to have a team or a group where we all improve together and work together.”
Moore added: “It’s been a fun relay. We’ve tried to stretch him as far as we can. They are excited and they have potential to make it state and we will see if they can, they aren’t quite fast enough but they are working on their handoffs.”
Ervasti’s favorite race is the 100 dash since he can accelerate quicker.
“I’m just better at accelerating than I am at keeping a top speed for a long period of time,” he said. “I feel like I am more athletically better this year and a lot more fit. I have a lot more practice and it’s carried into the meets this year.”
Moore said Ervasti has been a valuable leader for the team.
“He’s a quiet kid, who doesn’t say a whole lot,” he said. “What’s nice is he is helping out the younger kids. He does things without being asked. He helps kids in how to come out of the blocks and he’s been encouraging the other runners. He is just the quiet kid, who says the right things.”
Ervasti added: “I always try to do what’s best for my team and I want everyone else to do well in whatever they choose to do.”
Ervasti said his main focus during the offseason was to improve himself.
“I just wanted to get better,” he said. “My coaches have always pushed me to be better and they always try to get me in more events and look out for what’s best for the team.”
When asked about his goals for the season, Ervasti gave a simple answer.
“I just want to continue to get better for next season,” he said. “That’s kind of it to be honest.”
Other notable performances:
Baseball: Tanner Nissen, Aitkin, recorded five hits in the Hinckley Tournament.
Colbe Tappe, Staples-Motley, struck out 10 against Pequot Lakes. He also tripled.
Reese Young, Pierz, reached base seven times in a doubleheader against Milaca.
Zack Ehnstrom, Aitkin tallied five hits in a doubleheader against Crosby-Ironton.
Clay Erickson, Pequot Lakes, notched six hits in a doubleheader against Park Rapids.
Hudson Filippi, Little Falls, launched two home runs last week.
Golf: Anthony Armstrong, Pequot Lakes, won the Mid-Minn Conference meet at The Preserve.
Track and Field: Noah Larson, Crosby-Ironton, won four events in the Ranger Invite.
Sport: Track and Field
Highlights: Won the 100- and 200-meter dash while anchoring the 4x100 relay team at Sebeka